Nfld. & Labrador

Group decorates sidewalk with anti-racist messages in protest of 'White Lives Matter' sign

A small group of people protested outside a downtown St. John’s home Monday afternoon after a “White Lives Matter” poster was hung in a window. 

Although the posters were taken down prior to the protest, the group peacefully spread their own messages

A group of people met in front of a home that had a "White Lives Matter" sign posted in the window to draw their own messages in chalk on the sidewalk. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

A small group of people protested outside a downtown St. John's home Monday afternoon after a "White Lives Matter" poster was hung in a window. 

Another poster in the window also read "I Can Breathe," referencing George Floyd's death, which sparked protests across the United States. 

Although the posters were taken down prior to the protest, the group peacefully spread its own messages using colourful chalk to write and draw on the sidewalk. 

We have to build each other up because racism doesn't have a place in the world and we can't just live with it.- Melissandra Groza

"I decided to ask a few of my friends if they wanted to come out, I'd supply the sidewalk chalk, and we would write some positive things on the pavement," said one of the protestors who identified themselves as Chickie Who. 

One of the signs posted in the window of the home read "I Can Breathe," protesters wrote "I Can't Breathe" underneath that window. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

"I've seen a lot of this stuff pop up recently … It's the kind of viewpoint that is usually built out of ignorance instead of hate."

For Melissandra Groza, a transgender woman of colour who says she has also experienced racism first hand, the goal of the protest was to try to educate the home owner and those in the surrounding areas. 

Melissandra Groza said she has experienced racism while living in St. John's. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

"We are trying to show them that Black lives do matter … And if they don't get convinced well then obviously I can't do anything else but we are at least trying," she said. 

The RNC was on scene but the protest remained peaceful, the protestors left after drawing on the sidewalk.

The homeowner said she wasn't trying to be discriminatory but was only seeing "Black Lives Matter" and felt she should be able to do the same with a "White Lives Matter" sign.

She took the sign down before the protest began and said she doesn't plan on putting them back up. 

The RNC was on scene and was speaking with the protesters about staying on public property. The signs posted on the home were not made or hung by the group protesting Monday afternoon. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

The group wasn't the only one to call attention to the messages in the window, they said there were already signs posted on the house supporting Black Lives Matter when they arrived.

"We have to build each other up because racism doesn't have a place in the world and we can't just live with it," said Groza.

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